Morning all.  I hope you’ve all had a lovely weekend and that you’ve got something good planned for this bank holiday Monday!  So today I’m delighted to be on the blog tour for Not the Life Imagined by Anne Pettigrew – an interesting, dark and funny story following the lives of a group of medical students in the 60’s….

book blurb & info

A darkly humorous, thought-provoking story of Scottish medical students in the sixties, a time of changing social and sexual mores. None of the teenagers starting at Glasgow University in 1967 live the life they imagine.

Beth Slater is shocked at how few female medical students there are and that some people, such as Conor Towmey, think they shouldn’t be there at all. Devastated by a close friend’s suicide, Beth uncovers a revealing diary and vows to find the person responsible for her death. Struggling with the pressure of exams while supporting friends though disasters, Beth charts the students’ changing, often stormy, relationships over two decades in a contemporary backdrop of Free Love, the Ibrox Football Disaster, the emergence of HIV and DNA forensics. In time, indiscretions surface with dire consequences for some.

In Not the Life Imagined, retired medic Anne Pettigrew has written a tale of ambition and prejudice laced with sharp observations, irony and powerful perceptions that provide a humorous and compelling insight into the complex dynamics of the NHS fifty years ago.

Published by:Ringwood Publishing on 11th December 2018

Formats available: Paperback & eBook

Purchase Links: Amazon UK ~ Amazon US ~ Waterstones


my thoughts

Following the lives of a group of university students as they begin their long journey into the study of medicine, through to their reunion many years later; this is an interesting, enjoyable and eye opening story.  All of them have their ambitions and dreams, but none of them live the life they imagined.  Overcoming hurdles throughout their studies, losing members of the group, and experiencing love, betrayal, friendship, breakdowns, illness and loss, this story will keep you reading.

The story is mainly told from the perspective of Beth although this does change, sometimes to Connor, sometimes to others.  Each of the students have their own secrets that they keep hidden, and for some of them, these have dire consequences.  Throughout her life Beth is determined to uncover who was the cause of her friends suicide, and never lets it lie….but will she finally uncover who was responsible?

Not the Life Imagined is definitely an eye opening story for someone that wasn’t around in the 60’s and 70’s!  I find it so hard to imagine how life was back then, even though it was only a few years ago! With women being demoralised, homosexuality being illegal and medical technologies being slowly developed it appears to be a different world.  I was shocked at some of the things that happened and some of the characters behaviour; especially because it would have been the views of some people back then.

The insight into training in medicine was fantastic, and it definitely taught me I would have been a terrible medical student! Cutting up animals and people is not for me!  Pettigrew gives us a fantastic insight into all the different specialties of medicine from surgery to psychiatry, from General Practice to obstetrics, and more, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Having worked in health (although not as a clinician) I found this utterly fascinating!

There are quite a few characters in the group, as well as others on the outside, and it took me a little while to get to grips with who was who.  But once I’d figured it out I started developing my opinions on each other them.  Some you will love from the start and invest in all the way through the story, some will surprise you and your views will change, and one in particular you will not like….and that won’t change!!

The fact that you get to know each of them as students and are able to see what happens to them throughout their life is wonderful. You’ll be delighted for some of them, but angry and sad for others – you’ll definitely feel a range of emotions!

Overall, I really enjoyed this.  A wonderful insight into studying medicine, Glasgow in the 60’s and 70’s and the NHS back in the day; Pettigrew delves into many sensitive topics but in a thoughtful and delicate way.  With humour throughout this isn’t all dark, and will have you delighted and laughing at times.  If you’re looking for a good book where you can get to know the characters, chart their lives, learn about past decades and studying medicine, and invest yourself in uncovering secrets and lies, then you should check this out.  Recommended by me!



about the author

A graduate of Glasgow (Medicine) and Wolfson College, Oxford (Anthropology), Anne Pettigrew has been a GP, worked in psychiatry, family planning/sexual health, lecturing, patient/women doctors pressure groups, BMA Media relations, Homeopathy, acupuncture, an EEC Committee, book reviewing and journalism (medico-political and humorous articles to The Herald, Doctor newspaper etc: a Channel 4 Despatches). Retiring from practice, she became a wedding planner for a charity theatre, before starting Creative Writing classes and mentoring at Glasgow University. She is now a member of Garnethill critical writer’s forum and has won short story and article trophies in Greenock Writer’s Club. Not the life Imagined was runner up in the Scottish Association of Writers’ Constable Silver Stag Award 2018. The book was originally called No Sinecure, a title abandoned as no one under 35 in any class or group she joined knew what ‘sinecure’ meant (though some suggested it was apt, the book featuring ‘sin’ in those who ‘cure!’) Two more books are underway. Anne has two grown up children and lives with her husband in North Ayrshire.

Where to find Anne online: Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Website ~ Instagram

tour info

Organised by: Damppebbles

Thanks to Emma to inviting me on the tour, and to Anne and the publisher for gifting me with a copy.  All views and opinions are my own.

I hope you all have a wonderful day whether you’re off or still having to work!

See you tomorrow my lovelies

Chelle x

Please note this post contains Amazon affiliate links.  If you choose to purchase this book through these link, I will receive a small payment (at no additional cost to you).  This is the only form of monetisation on my blog so every little helps and is appreciated.

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